Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Mom Reading List

As a first time Mom, I felt inundated with reading materials, advice, and baby info!  I've narrowed down the best books/resources for New Moms to a list of FIVE.  Here are my favorites...

I started reading this book when I was about 35 weeks pregnant.  It helped me anticipate what was forthcoming, and I really felt prepared for Reed's "fussiness" because of this famous book!  Dr. Karp's book is easy to read and makes sense!  (No medical gibberish!)  Throughout the first few months of Reed's life, I found myself rereading portions of the book and looking things up to help my new baby.  This book has been called "the most important parenting book of the decade," and it is a MUST READ for all FTMs.  

2.  Baby 411
I love this book because it is divided into sections that are easy to navigate.  The question and answer format makes the book manageable and easy to digest in small bits.  When Reed was around two months, I sat down and read the "Sleep" section of the book in one sitting.  Baby boy made huge strides in his sleep patterns after I read the information in this book.  Bonus: The 6th edition of this book was just released!

When I was in Labor & Delivery, the nurse that was taking care of me suggested reading this book.  My pediatrician also recommended this book at Reed's 3-month well visit.  I think the perfect time to read this book is when baby is 3 or 4 months old.  Most pediatricians and sleep experts don't recommend any kind of "sleep training" before this time.  The book is BIG and wordy.  In fact, I had to read it twice to really take it all in.  However, this book has contributed to Reed's healthy sleep patterns (10-13 hours per night).  Prepare yourself for an overwhelming amount of information, but I'm positive it will make a difference in baby's sleep habits.  

The Wonder Weeks is a book, but I would recommend the smart phone app!  The Wonder Weeks explains "mental leaps" that babies go through at certain periods in their development.  It's like a mental growth spurt.  The app explains these mental leaps in short snippets and helps new Moms know what to expect and anticipate.  Awesome app!  

5.  KellyMom website
KellyMom provides evidence-based research on breastfeeding and parenting.  The website and Facebook group have helped me successfully breastfeed baby boy for 6+ months (and still going!).  There are articles, Q&As, and most importantly, advice from experienced Mamas.  You can post questions to the secret Facebook group and get instant feedback from Moms, nurses, and lactation consultants around the world.  Free, fast, and convenient!  

I hope these five resources will help new Mamas out there!  
Happy 6 months to my baby bear!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reed...The Sleep Expert!

What's New:  Last month I posted about the struggles we were having with Reed's sleep.  We were so blessed to meet Melissa from Newborn Nightingales.  Melissa is an RN, mommy to two, and sleep consultant.  I found Melissa around 3 a.m. on a particularly rough sleep night.  {Thanks, Google!}  Last week, Fox News came out to film a segment on infant sleep.  Fox filmed for almost 90 minutes, but the clip is pretty short.  Check it out below!
Melissa gave us lots of wonderful advice on helping Reed sleep more consistently at night and how to lengthen his cat naps.  She gave me a copy of a book called "Moms on Call" that has been a huge help.  Here is some of the advice I got from our consult...
--Close the blinds for naps.  
--Turn the white noise machine all the way up.  Use an adult white noise machine.  No waves or lullabies.  
--Lay baby down in crib drowsy but not asleep.  Otherwise, baby is relying on you to help fall asleep.  When they wake up , they expect to see you or be rocking/bouncing.  
--All of the aforementioned are helping baby develop sleep associations.  Babies like routine and consistency so the dark room, white noise, and crib are associated with sleep.
--Let baby stay in crib after they wake up from a nap to see if they will put themselves back to sleep.  (I'm guilty of running in to pick him up because he's so cute and happy after a nap.)   Let baby play in crib independently and/or put himself back to sleep.  
--The Moms on Call book has sample schedules for babies 4-6 months, 6-7 months, 8-10 months, 11 months, and 12-15 months.  It's helpful to see what a typical day should look like for most babes.  

I feel so blessed to have met Melissa from Newborn Nightingales.  God sent her to our family at just the right time!  If you need sleep advice, shoot Melissa an e-mail.  You won't regret it!  

Reed likes:  Playing at the park, being outside, going for jogs in the Bob, and practicing his rolls!
Happy Moment:  This week, cousins Greg and Rory were visiting from Wyoming, and Grandma is in town from Florida.  We took Reed to the Dallas World Aquarium, and he was in HEAVEN.  He didn't make a peep the whole two hours we were there.  He just enjoyed seeing all of the animals and exploring the rain forest and underwater adventure!

Struggles/Challenges:  Dare I say it...NONE.  We are totally in a sweet spot right now.  If you haven't read this blog post called "The Sweet Spot," please take a few minutes and read it.  Life is good.  Reed is so happy and so fun.  His days are filled with learning, love, milk, and hugs/kisses!  We are so very blessed.  I saw this on Pinterest the other day, and it really spoke to me...
Looking forward to:  Cooler weather...Seriously...Reed loves to be outside, but Mama hates the heat and humidity.  Come on fall!  I'm also looking forward to introducing solid foods to Reed sometime soon!  I'll post updates (and pictures) of the excitement!  :)  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Things You Didn't Know You Needed...

If you've read my last few posts, the theme is that babies need A LOT of stuff...Seriously...

There are a few essentials I never even knew I needed until I became a Mama!  Hopefully this post will help some new Mamas out there.  :)

1.  Changing Pad Covers/Liners
So everybody knows you need a changing pad and a cover for the changing pad.  But did you know that you need a COVER for the changing pad cover?  Well, YES you do.  It's super important.  I learned this on the first day home from the hospital.  We had just gotten home from the hospital, and I put Reed down on our brand new, darling, personalized Pottery Barn changing pad and he PEES all over it.  Needless to say, he has gone #1, #2, and #8 ALL OVER the changing pad cover on a regular basis.  So, yes, you NEED covers/liners for the changing pad covers.  Actually, go ahead and get 2 packs.

2.  Extra Long iPhone Charger
During the first 3 months of Reed's life, I spent an average of six hours per day in the glider nursing my sweet baby.  My phone went dead FAST playing Candy Crush and checking Facebook.  Invest in a nice, super long iPhone cord to keep your mobile device charged up!

3.  Burp Cloths...TONS of them
Fortunately, I got bunches of adorable, personalized burp cloths at my baby showers.  I remember thinking to myself, "why do I need so many of these 'little towels'?"  Well, it turns out that babies spit up A LOT.  Therefore, you need tons of burp cloths.  All shapes and sizes are a good idea!  Here are a few of my faves:
-Aden & Anais Bamboo Burpy Bibs
-Personalized Etsy burp cloths
-Homemade Burp cloths!

4.  Exercise Ball 

It's not for crunches anymore...Baby boy LOVES to bounce.  We bounce on the ball to calm him down or get him to fall asleep at night.  It works miracles!  Also, if I need to talk on the phone, I'll bounce while talking, and Reed is perfectly happy.  Nursing and bouncing is his all time favorite.  :)

5.  Desitin
We got lots of Desitin at the baby shower.  I never realized you use Desitin EVERY TIME you change baby's diaper.  Yep.  It's not to "cure" diaper rash...It's to PREVENT diaper rash.  Who knew?

This is a very random list, I know...However, I hope it helps you as you prepare for little one or buy a baby shower gift!  Happy shopping!

Please tell...what item didn't you know you needed?  I'd love to add it to my list?  Add a comment or e-mail me at lizpledger85@gmail.com, and let me know what surprising item needs to be added to this list! :)

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Top 5 Baby Essentials

Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE to shop.  I particularly love to shop on AMAZON.  You can't beat FREE two-day shipping.  Half the time my purchases come overnight.  That makes my Mama heart happy!  {Please note: J.J. usually supports my Amazon habit.}  With all that being said, I buy A LOT of baby stuff on Amazon.  Since Reed has been born, I've bought at least one million baby things.  Anything that MIGHT work, I buy.  {Please note: J.J. does not like this so much...}  

I thought it would be fun to create a list of BABY ESSENTIALS for all of my girlfriends who are having babies in the near future.  These are the goodies you and your baby MUST have in my opinion.  I'll give a little commentary for each.  :)  

We've used this since Day 1.  It doesn't really DO anything, but it props Reed up at just the right angle, and he is content to sit in it.  In the very beginning, he also napped in it regularly.  At four months, he still hangs out in it every morning.  It collapses so it will be easy to store as well.  The price is just right, and there are lots of cute color options available.  

Reed won't bounce or swing in those fancy swings that most babies like.  However, he LOVES his Kick 'n Play Piano like none other.  He is literally out of breath when he is done playing.  It's the toy that keeps his attention the longest.  Good exercise too!  Check out the little man in action...
Every baby is different, so my best advice is to BORROW a swing/bouncer/gym from a friend to see if your little one will enjoy it before spending a bunch of money.  :)  

If you plan to breastfeed, then you need a GREAT pump.  I think this breast pump has helped me continue to successfully breastfeed Reed.  I nurse Reed the majority of the time, but I pump every night when he goes to sleep.  It allows me to have milk in the fridge so we can have a babysitter, or I can have a few glasses of vino.  This pump is expensive but it's worth every penny.

4.  Swaddle Blankets
We probably have at least one swaddle blanket from every brand.  However, our two favorites are The Miracle Blanket and The Woombie.  In fact, we double swaddle Reed.  We get him all snugly in the Miracle Blanket and then zip him up in the Woombie!  No chance he can break free.  Swaddle blankets can get expensive so you may want to borrow various brands from a friend to see which kind/size your little one likes.  

Reed's favorite soothing white noise is the sound of a HAIR DRYER.  We happen to find this CD from best selling author Dr. Harvey Karp.  The "hair dryer song" is the first track on the CD, and it is miraculous.  It INSTANTLY calms baby boy.  He generally still goes to sleep listening to the sound of the hair dryer.  We joke that he will be 18 years old listening to this hair dryer "song."   Do whatever works, right?  You can buy the CD or download it digitally.  

Baby stuff can get expensive so borrow and share what you can!  :)  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Well, hello again!

So the last time I posted was April 20th...That was two days before Baby Reed was born.  Needless to say, the past four+ months have been a WHIRLWIND.  It's hard to even fathom that my baby is so big already!
I've really missed blogging over the past four months, and I'm going to try to find a way to write each week.  It's a creative outlet and good for my mommy brain!  :)  
When I was preggers, I did weekly updates in a survey form.  I'm going to attempt something like that starting this week/month.  Hope you enjoy reading!

What's New:  At this point, every single day is new and different!  Reed is taking five naps a day (20-40 minutes each).  He is getting really good at reaching, grasping, and grabbing toys.  Rolling over is NBD for the Reedster.  His smile and laugh light up the room.  These moments bring Mommy and Daddy so much joy and excitement.  George Strait sings a song with the lyrics..."bright as the light in a baby's smile"...These words mean SO MUCH to me now that I have a baby of my own.  His smile is truly a gift from the Lord.  
Reed likes:  Mama's milk, smiling, kicking, checking himself out in the mirror
Happy Moment:  Back2School is the busiest time of year for my little business over at TheHappyTeacher.  I set a HUGE goal for August, and I met my goal today{barely}!  WooHoo!  I like being able to contribute to the family while staying at home with baby boy.   
Struggles/Challenges:  Sleep.  UGH.  The 4-month sleep regression is REALLY killing us.  Reed was sleeping 8-11 hours a night from 9 weeks-16 weeks and then suddenly he decided he'd rather wake up several times throughout the night.  J.J. and I have been reading, researching, and discussing the best way to help baby boy sleep through the night again.  On Monday, we are going to attempt the "extinction" method proposed by Dr. Weissbluth in his book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  If you are reading this, please say a prayer for our little family.  It's going to be very hard, but hopefully it will help EVERYONE get a little more sleep.  
Looking forward to:  Cooler weather and Grandma Campbell's visit to Dallas in late September. 

So glad to be blogging again!  Promise to write again soon!  :)  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Creative Baby Announcements by Rachael McAdams

Please help me welcome guest blogger, Rachael McAdams!  
Rachael is new to the SAHM community, but she has been a writer for years. Rachael enjoys writing about various subjects, and especially enjoys providing advice to new moms. If you'd like to follow Rachael, you can find her at @livealittleNYC.  Check out Rachel's Pinterest boards here!

Creative Birth Announcements
We’ve all received birth announcements over the years from family and friends as they share their new baby with the world. When you receive them, you often use words like “cute” or “adorable,” but not often do you use the words “creative” or “unique” when you see them. Here are some ways to make your birth announcements truly worthy of the words “creative” and “unique.”

Use Icons
Thanks to the Internet and all things technology, we are all familiar with icons and infographics. Well, what about using icons for as part of your birth announcement? I know there are a lot of online stationery stores to choose from when purchasing a birth announcement, but I especially like Tiny Prints’ birth announcements that use icons to easily convey all the important information about your baby’s statistics. You can order a sample to ensure your card is easy to read and the photo is clear!

Get Ready for Close Ups!
Another creative way to show off your new baby is through the use of close-up photography. Take shots of your new baby’s fingers, toes, and earlobes to start. Use each close-up on the birth announcement as a way to introduce your baby to your family and friends. Finally, include one photo of your baby’s beautiful face.

Incorporate Your Geo-Location or your Alma Mater
How about you show off your love of your state, team, or college along with your new baby!  Take a photo of your newly expanded family in your local park or using the city skyline as a backdrop. For example, if you are from New York, you can put them in an “I love NY” onsie from the NYC Factory. Live near the ocean? Take announcement photos on the beach and accessorize your baby in sunglasses and a straw hat! You could even get one from your college and show off the love of your alma mater. Fanatics.com has official collegiate baby outfits from over 500 different colleges. If you want to share your dedication to your favorite team, check out the official league site for baby items.

Show Off the Generations
Do you have a special baby hat or blanket that has been passed down from generation to generation? Use that as part of your birth announcement! Take out an old photo of you as an infant with that special toy or blanket. Then take a photo of your new baby with that same item; perhaps in a similar pose. Then include both photos in your announcement! You will not only be passing something special down to your baby, but you will be starting a tradition your baby can carry on when that they have babies of their own!

Birthday + Holiday

Was your baby born close to a holiday? How about incorporating that holiday into your baby’s birth announcement? Was your baby born close to Independence Day? Osh Kosh B’gosh has adorable baby outfits for Independence Day. How about dressing up your baby like Uncle Sam? Was your baby born around Christmas? How about using a Santa hat in your photos? Think about the holiday that occurs near your baby’s birth date and see if there is a way to bring the two together.
These are just a few possibilities to make your baby announcements worthy of the words “unique” and “creative.” Remember that these will be kept and shared for decades to come so make sure your baby’s announcement will most of all show your love for your new little bundle. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Motivational Posters

My sweet cousin, Abby, shared three bible verses with me to help me get through labor and delivery!  All three verses were so powerful that I decided I needed to bring them with me to the hospital.  I typed them up, added a cute border, and printed them on bright card stock.  I'm going to hang them in the L&D room where I can see them and be reminded of the Lord's love!
I've added them to my blog for all my friends who are pregnant and may need the same motivational words in their L&D room!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


No belly pic this week.  That would involve getting off the couch...haha.  This is how we spend our evenings waiting for Reed (snuggling on the couch with Boise, watching The Tudors!)  This is my last weekly update before Baby Reed makes his grand entrance!  Yippee!

How far along?  38 Weeks (+1 Day)

Maternity Clothes: Anything that fits... Ready to wear "normal" clothes again!

Stretch Marks:  I've invested in Mederma Stretch Mark Therapy.  I've heard it works miracles.

Sleep:  Decent... except for the 39 trips to the bathroom each night...

Best moment this week:  Meeting my friend Kandra's newborn baby, Kade, on Friday!  It was so incredibly special to visit her in the hospital and see her little guy 12 hours after he was born!  It also helped me visualize the experience I'll be having in a few days.  I'm planning to spend some time on Thursday with Kandra & Kade.  {Practice before I get one of my own!} 

Missing anything?  Drinking a 2nd cup of coffee in the mornings...

Movement:  Tons of action!  My belly gets very tight in the evenings, and Reed is adjusting a lot.  He's definitely "dropped," and I think the tightening may be practice contractions!?!?  

Food Cravings:    PINEAPPLE JUICE.  It's SO good.  Apparently, it's supposed to help induce labor, but I've been drinking 12 ounces or more per day, and it hasn't worked yet.  {Must be an old wives' tale}

Sickness/Symptoms:  Just feeling tired and heavy!  

Labor Signs: I'm still only 1cm dilated, so not really...Possibly having practice contractions in the evenings but nothing serious...

Belly Button:  This bad boy has been OUT since the end of the first trimester.  How long will it take to get back "innie"?  

Wedding Rings On/Off:  I wonder if I can wear my wedding band during L&D...Anybody know?

Moods:  Excited, prepared, eager

Looking forward to:  Hair appointment and mani/pedi!  Gotta look good when I meet my baby!!

Here is our "plan" for Labor & Delivery.  I realize it may not go exactly according to schedule, but I'm 100% Type A, so let's hope it does!  

Saturday, April 20th:
12:00pm- The Pledgers arrive in Dallas
6:30pm- The Campbells arrive in Dallas
7:00pm- Dinner at Twisted Root

Sunday, April 21st:
7:00am- Wake up and think about having the baby all day long
7:00pm- Shower and get ready to go to the hospital
9:00pm- Arrive at Medical Center Plano and begin INDUCTION with a little cytotec

Monday, April 22nd:
5:00am- Start pitocin
12:00pm or so- BABY REED IS BORN!

We'll see how it all goes, but this is the "plan" we have in place!  We'd love to have visitors on Tuesday the 23rd!  Just call or text J.J., and he will let you know where we are.  The hospital won't allow children or babies to visit, and there are quiet hours (no visitors) between like 1-4:00....Otherwise, please come see us!  Bring champagne!! :)  

 Diaper bag is packed and ready!
Hope I remembered everything...
Reed's "going home" outfit!  Thanks, Kristin!  We love it!
Mimi bought this "snazzy" outfit for Baby Reed!  It's so tiny and precious!  
Get it on Etsy!
Reed's closet...I'm ready to "play dress up"...
I consider myself somewhat of an expert on children's books, and I JUST discovered this little gem by Jon Klassen called "This Is Not My Hat."  If you have a little one or a classroom, you must buy it!  I promise you will LOVE it!

That's all for now!!  The next time I post, I'll have a baby!!!!  Eek!!  Prayers and positive thoughts for an "easy" labor and delivery would be greatly appreciated!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Nurse Goody Bags!

I was inspired to make goody bags for the labor & delivery nurses after I saw the idea on Pinterest!  I'm officially stir crazy waiting for Baby Reed, so I thought it would be a fun project to do.  I made six goody bags, which should cover three days at the hospital (day & night nurse).  Hope I made enough!

In each goody bag, I included pretzels, Hershey's chocolate bar, gum, Lip Smackers chapstick, and hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works.  I hope the nurses like them!  =)

To add a touch of "blue" for baby boy, I printed the thank yous on scrapbook paper.  You can download the little thank you printables I made below:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 37= FULL TERM

 Baby things make me so happy!  Reed has so many adorable outfits, blankets, and accessories!  He is a lucky baby!  =)

How far along?  37 Weeks.  I'm relieved to say that Reed is "full term."  He is approximately 6 pounds and 11 ounces, so if he came today, he'd be an average, healthy baby!!

Maternity Clothes: Tank tops, leggings, and sweats...That's my daily uniform. 

Stretch Marks:  Badges of honor.  =)

Sleep:  Not as good lately...My body is preparing for the 2am feedings I guess!  Hence, why I'm awake at 4:30am writing this blog post!  

Best moment this week:  "JJ Day" on Sunday...My Mom suggested having a day completely devoted to JJ.  Often, the husband is forgotten in pregnancy and once the baby is born, so I decided he needed his own special day.  JJ got to pick everything we did for the day, and I attempted not to complain about being pregnant the whole day.  (I think I did pretty good!!)  We went to a hot dog place for lunch, followed by a day at the movies.  In the afternoon, we watched golf and baseball on TV, then went for a stroll through the neighborhood.  For dinner, we had take out from Thai Thai.  "JJ Day" was a success!  :)  I'm so grateful to JJ for being so supportive, patient, and loving throughout my pregnancy.  I know it hasn't always been easy on him, but he's been my rock!!!

Missing anything?  Having energy and feeling like myself.  

Movement:  There is lots going on in there...Baby Reed is wiggling and stretching all the time.  Hiccups 3-5+ times per day.  =)

Food Cravings:    PINEAPPLE JUICE.  Yummmmm.....

Sickness/Symptoms:  Heartburn again.  Achy and tired legs/hips.  

Labor Signs: I thought for sure the baby was coming on Saturday.  Boise was acting so crazy all day!  She was purring, meowing, and strutting around.  Then she was all over me!  She has been sweet and loving throughout the pregnancy, but on this particular day she was OBSESSED with me.  I feel like she will "know" when I'm about to have the baby!  Then on Sunday, Reed was incredibly active.  I couldn't really get comfortable all day because there was so much going on in there.  Obviously, I didn't go into labor either day though because here I am writing this post.  =)  I just need to be patient!!

Belly Button:  Giant.  

Wedding Rings On/Off:  Off until Reed is born!

Moods:  Antsy, anxious, and grumpy.  Not a good week!  LOL.  

Looking forward to:  STILL looking forward to the windows being replaced...They are "scheduled" to be here on Wednesday, so they should be installed by the end of the week.  Not holding my breath....

One of the Twisted Root franchisees gave us this adorable bib!!  So stinkin' cute!
 Found this on Etsy!  Can't wait to dress my little man up!
 Matching tie and socks for newborn pics!  Eek!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 36 Update!

Picture from my Shugart baby shower at Primo's!  
How far along?  36 Weeks

Weight Gain: I'm over keeping track!  

Maternity Clothes: Thank God for Lululemon.  

Stretch Marks:  I'm over that too. 

Sleep:  Depends on the night...Overall, I've been sleeping well though.  =)

Best moment this week:  Celebrating Baby Reed with my friends from Shugart and GISD.  Seeing all of my friends at Primo's was a good reminder of my many blessings.  How did I get so lucky to have such kind and thoughtful friends!?!

Missing anything?  Seeing my feet and being able to tie my shoes.  

Movement:  Movement all the time!  Every time he moves or kicks, I think he's knocking and asking if he can come out yet...Is that weird?

Food Cravings:    I'm still dying for a Pazookie from BJ's.  Cool Ranch Doritos also rock!

Sickness/Symptoms:  Achy legs and hips!  Also, "chubby bunny" face...

Labor Signs: Well I was planting some flowers and doing some gardening today, and I thought for sure that it would induce labor.  It didn't.  Dang.  

Belly Button:  BIG.

Wedding Rings On/Off:  I took them off today.  I was worried about them getting stuck.

Moods:  READY, thankful, and excited!

Looking forward to:  The windows being replaced.  Should happen sometime this week...In fact, it MUST happen sometime this week!!! 
 Look at this sweet kitty!  
She lays in the nursery all day!  She's patiently waiting for her brother's arrival!
21 days left!!!